TOM HUDSON: Sir Martin Sorrell is the chief executive of WPP
(NASDAQ:WPPGY), the world’s biggest advertising firm. He joins us from
that firm in New York City. Sir Martin, welcome to NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT.
SIR MARTIN SORRELL, CEO, WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) GROUP: Delighted to be
with you Tom.
HUDSON: How will your industry, the ad industry use this data that
is now being collected and has always been collected by Google
SORRELL: Well, I think the answer to that is carefully because
clearly the rise of new media whether it be Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), who you
mentioned or whether it be a Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO)!, a Facebook, a Twitter, a
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), this data is extremely valuable. But it’s
extremely personal and the issues of privacy counter balance the issue of
access. And I think that the first thing to establish is what the consumer
will permit and what he or she will not permit. So whether it’s an opt out
system or an opt in system, I think the consumer clearly has to decide
you anticipate that change how you work with your clients in online
advertising? Can it change the messaging, change the kinds of purchases
that you do on some of those key words?
SORRELL: Yes, I think it will do in time. I think it just changes the
nature of our business. I think the other thing that we are concerned about
is that these new media companies are really new media owners. They’re not
technology companies. They’re media owners masquerading in a way as
technology companies. And it’s a bit like a traditional television channel
or radio channel or newspaper or magazine going directly to consumers and
clients and working directly with them. It’s a question of independence. If
you own the channel, obviously you’re biased towards the channel and you
try and drive traffic, consumers, advertisers to that channel. So having
that independence, we think is important.
HUDSON: Sir Martin, your firm WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) reported record
revenues last year. What industries are fueling that ad growth that you
anticipate this year?
SORRELL: Well, it’s broadly spread. If you look at the categories that
drove our growth last year, obviously it was automobiles was one, packaged
goods, food, the travel industry, airline industry, all the major
categories fueled it. What really drove our business more than categories
was geographical locations and technologies.
HUDSON: On the geography part, you are a UK-based firm. What is your
assessment of the European economy, in recession, close to it or growing?
SORRELL: Well, it’s certainly not growing rapidly but obviously
Europe is very heavily challenged. We know what’s going on in Greece. We
know what’s going on in Portugal. We know the dangers of that for — and
Ireland. We know the dangers of that for countries like Italy, even a
HUDSON: Sir Martin Sorrell, along with us, CEO of advertising giant
SORRELL: Thank you very much.